I’ve been a regular user of Xoom‘s services for more than three years already. I primarily used it to receive money from my offshore freelance and corporate web design clients, but ever since Paypal became fully functional here in the Philippines, I’ve been using it to send money from my Paypal account.

I already tried using Paypal’s withdrawal service. Albeit free of charge (transaction fee is free if it’s more than a certain amount), it took so long to reflect on my account that Marc and I even thought that the money was already floating in space or that some schmuck got lucky and spent our money. No schmuck got lucky (fortunately), but we received the deposit about one and a half months after I initiated the transaction from my Paypal account.

So what we do now to “withdraw” our money from Paypal is through Xoom. From our Paypal account (which is under my name), we send the money to our Xoom account (which is under Marc’s name). There’s a transaction fee to pay, but at least the money gets deposited straight to our BPI (Bank of the Philippine Islands) account in a day or two if we made the transaction during a business day. We never had problems with Xoom or Paypal, until last week, that is.

I created a transaction on April 30, sometime in the early morning. Usually, it takes only a few minutes (or hours, if during the weekend) for my Paypal transaction to get verified. In my experience, it usually just took a few seconds for “PayPal Payment in Progress” to become “Payment Authorization Pending.” But in this case, my transaction history got stuck in the “PayPal Payment in Progress” step. And worse, the amount had already been credited from my Paypal account.

Being a typical customer, I contacted their customer support after it seemed that nothing was happening to my transaction anymore. I wrote a long email asking them why my transaction got stuck in that step. The first support person I transacted with was quite honest—he told me that they were having “technical difficulties with Paypal.” I’ve worked for six months at a call center as tech support, and I know for a fact that “technical difficulties” is usually the excuse to give a customer whenever you had absolutely no idea what’s going on—you know it’s something to do with your system, but you just don’t know what it was. I had to give the guy credit… At least he was honest that it was a problem in Xoom’s part and that they are “doing their best” to “resolved” my problem. He also suggested that I cancel the transaction and just initiate a new one.

So I did. Or at least tried to. I changed the subject on the drop-down menu of their contact form to “Cancel My Transaction,” just to be sure that my message was sent to the right person. I provided all the necessary information that pertained to my transaction and even took the time to explain my dilemma again, thinking that I was probably going to create a “new ticket” by creating another message in their contact form.

I was right. I chose the message Topic so well that the idiot who received my query didn’t even bother reading my long email which explicitly stated that I wanted to cancel my transaction and get a refund upon the suggestion of their support representative because it was a problem on their part—he just sent me a copy-and-paste standard reply. I tried to reply to this guy, but at this time, I finally realized that if you replied to the customer support message sent to your email, your message will go nowhere.

I had to create another message using their contact form again and explained once more the long story of my issue… IN ALL CAPS. I was already getting increasingly pissed off, you see (and I am not the type of person anyone would like to see pissed off). I got even more pissed at the bigger idiot who answered my message—this one told me that the problem was with Paypal and that I should take it up with Paypal because they didn’t have access to my Paypal account. And since I cannot reply to this idiot without using Xoom’s contact form, I had to tell my story for the Nth time. Obviously, the knowledgeable support guy who first answered me was probably not there anymore and he was replaced by a bunch of idiots who didn’t bother to really understand what you’re trying to say.

I already reached my boiling point, so in the next email I made using the Xoom contact form (in ALL CAPS), I included the Paypal receipt I got that proved the amount was already with Xoom and that they had my money somewhere in their system—which made it their issue, not Paypal’s. This time, I got another idiot who didn’t even bother to try to solve my issue and just “escalated” my problem “to a Xoom Customer Service Specialist” who would contact me “shortly” to address my “specific questions and concerns.” Apparently, in Xoom lingo, “shortly” could equate to NEVER, which definitely happened in this case.

Guess what I had to do next? Yes, that’s right. I had to send another goddamn email!

Aside from repeating the same problem and all the information for the Nth time, I wanted to let them know how much of a hassle this goddamn ordeal had been to me. I was civil (albeit wrote in ALL CAPS), and I didn’t cuss—no matter how much I wanted to. I made sure to let them know I was furious, I was fed up with excuses and being thrown to different people who didn’t bother to contact me when they said they would, and I was totally screwed because the money they’re holding was meant to pay for our monthly car loan.

I didn’t hear from any idiots, nor any knowledgeable support guys until after a few days. I hoped that maybe they were already doing something about it, and that my email really reached the right people. So since there was no way I would get the refund before our car loan was due, Marc and I had no choice but to withdraw money from our dollar do-not-spend-this-will-be-our-savings account.

On May 7, somebody from Xoom finally contacted me and said that they were already working on my refund. That’s about three days after I sent my irate ALL CAPS message.

I got the refund on my Paypal account on May 9. I’m telling you, it was one shitty week (and to think I was just recovering from a flu relapse).

Yesterday, I sent another email to Xoom. This time, not in ALL CAPS 🙂 Marc and I needed to have some stuff done here at home; we needed some cash to pay the carpenters and order materials. I didn’t want to borrow money from my dad (well, not yet anyway), so we figured that we might give Xoom another shot. So I asked them if their Paypal system was already in order because I didn’t want to go through the same shit again if I created another transaction.

The support rep was very apologetic, and assured me that everything was in order already. I suppose one of the Xoom reps flagged my account with “customer is an insufferable nag, be nice” or something, that’s why they were being to nice to me. Or maybe this person who answered my email saw records or history of my shit so she geniunely felt bad for me.

I created another transaction. So far, so good. The money isn’t with me yet, but at the moment, the status is “Bank Deposit in Progress.” Hopefully, I’ll get the money on Monday when banks open… F-ing shit, if I don’t—I don’t think I can handle another problem like that this soon!

Do you guys know of any other way to get the money from your Paypal account without having to use the “withdraw to credit card or bank account” functions or use Xoom? I’d very much appreciate suggestions. After this ordeal, I realize that it’s practically suicide to put all of your eggs in one basket—I need an alternative.

UPDATE (May 12): Marc checked our bank account last night and saw that the amount has been deposited. Maybe my exhausting and traumatic experience was just a “little” bump on the road? I hope so.